The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has clarified that they are implementing the window hour scheme for provincial buses, which has recently inconvenienced a number of commuters in Metro Manila, based on a policy by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
In a statement, MMDA Chairman Romando Artes said "that based on the existing policy of LTFRB, all provincial buses shall terminate its routes at the North Luzon Express Terminal (NLET) in Bocaue, Bulacan or at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) located in Parañaque City."
But Artes said LTFRB granted the request of the MMDA, based on the request of provincial bus operators, for a 10 pm to 5 am window hour period to ply EDSA, which started with a two-week dry run during the last week of March.
Artes noted that provincial buses are not prohibited from operating beyond the said window hours, provided that they do not terminate the trips at their own terminals, and instead use the integrated terminals in accordance to the existing LTFRB policy.
Artes added that the agency and the provincial bus operators had "a gentleman's agreement" after they requested for extension after the two-week dry run, allowing all provincial buses to ply EDSA and use their respective Metro Manila terminals round-the-clock during the Holy Week, until April 17.
After the extension was further extended to April 19, the window hours scheme took effect on April 20.
As provincial buses can only drop off and pick up passengers at designated terminals outside of the 10 pm to 5 am window, operators have announced that they will only operate within such hours. These provincial bus lines include Victory Liner, Bataan Transit Bus Corporation, and First North Luzon Transit Inc.
Artes likewise "stressed that the main role of the MMDA is to strictly implement the traffic rules and regulations, while policy with regards to provincial buses is under the jurisdiction of DOTr and LTFRB."
Previously, the MMDA has referred concerned commuters on Twitter to the LTFRB, saying the policy stems from the latter.
Then in an April 21 statement, the LTFRB said the new schedule comes from an agreement that provincial bus operators have with the MMDA.
“At the outset, the LTFRB would like to clarify that the agency is not privy to the said agreement but was informed of this prior to the more than two-weeks dry run of the said scheme by MMDA, and that the agency respects the said policy they are implementing,” LTFRB said.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has said that operators will be held liable for the confusion as numerous commuters remain inconvenienced by the change.
Meanwhile, a number of commuters continue to wait longer hours on the road due to the policy change.